"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Conventions | Chicago’s RedEye has an overview of the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, which kicked off this morning at McCormick Place, and talks with Brian Stephenson of producer ReedPop about the future of the five-year-old show. “It has all the potential in the world to be bigger than San Diego [Comic Con] or New York, all based on the square footage at McCormick,” he said. Meanwhile Chicagoist checks in with a convention food guide, while Chicago Now offers a rundown of the best after-parties. [Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo]
With the release this week of DC Comics’ Green Lantern Corps #40, artist Bernard Chang has announced he’ll be giving away his original interior art from that final issue.
“Issues 21-40 have been some of the most challenging and yet rewarding work of my career,” he wrote on Instagram. “As a show of my appreciation, I am going to give away ALL of my original interior art pages from the historic final issue 40 to you! I am cutting up all the pages into individual panels (except pgs 17, 19, 24-25, and 28, which will be raffled off).”
Auctions | Sotheby’s auction of comics and comics art over the weekend in Paris brought in about $4.1 million for 189 works, including Hergé’s cover art for the 10th-anniversary issue of Le Petit Vingtième (the magazine where Tintin first ran), several Tintin pages, and pieces by Hugo Pratt, Charles Burns and Osamu Tezuka. An acrylic and crayon illustration by Dave Stevens created in 1988 for the first issue of The Rocketeer Adventure Magazine (at right) fetched $66,017, a record for the late artist’s work. [Paul Gravett, Artnet]
Creators | “Hobbes was as much my alter-ego as Calvin was”: In an excerpt from the new book Exploring Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson talks about how he came to comics, how he developed the style and characters of Calvin and Hobbes, and the continuing popularity of the strip years after it stopped running in newspapers. [Comic Riffs]
IDW Publishing has announced it will relocate in June to the former Navy barracks within San Diego’s historic NTC at Liberty Station, where it will open a comics art gallery.
Located within the publisher’s new offices, the San Diego Comic Art Gallery will serve as a permanent home to showcase sequential and animation art, with retail space and working artists. Harry L. Katz, former head curator in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress, has been named as the gallery’s curator.
That’s a far cry from the record $3.2 million paid in August for a pristine copy of the 1938 first appearance of Superman, but certainly nothing to sneeze at.
“High-end, vintage comic books across the board continue to show incredible market durability,” Ed Jaster, Heritage’s senior vice president, said in a statement. “The auction total, at $7.17 million, is the third-highest grossing comics auction in history, period.”
Other comic book highlights of the Nov. 20-22 auction include a CGC-graded 7.0 copy of Pep Comics #22, featuring the first appearance of Archie Andrews ($143,400) and a CGC-graded 6.5 copy of Captain America Comics #1 ($107,550).
The auction house also noted high prices paid for the first appearances of Wonder Woman and Aquaman, which it attributes to anticipation for the characters’ big-screen debuts: a CGC-graded 5.5 copy of All Star Comics #8 sold for $44,813, more than triple its list value, and a CGC-graded 3.5 copy of More Fun Comics #73 went for $38,838, 10 times its guide price.
Also of note: Bill Everett’s original cover art for 1967’s Strange Tales #152, depicting Doctor Strange and Umar, sold for $71,700, while Frank Frazetta’s 1967 cover painting for Jongor Fights Back fetched an impressive $179,250.
Ahead of the release of Guardians of the Galaxy, Multiversity Comics brought together Rocket Raccoon- and Groot-themed art from an assortment of creators, with selected pieces to be auctioned to benefit writer Bill Mantlo, who suffered irreversible brain damage in 1992 after being struck by a car. Now that auction has gone live on eBay.
There are more than 30 pieces up for bid from such creators as Rafael Albuquerque, J. Bone, Jenny Frison, Sina Grace, Rebekah Isaacs, Tradd Moore, Declan Shalvey, Greg Smallwood and C.P. Wilson III.
Bill Watterson’s original artwork from his surprise guest stint in June on Pearls Before Swine sold at auction Friday for a combined $74,040, with the proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
According to The Associated Press, Heritage Auctions sold the three comic strips to three collectors, who wished to remain anonymous. The Dallas auction house had expected the pieces to bring in more than $30,000 combined (the June 5 strip alone went for $35,840).
The three original comic strips from Bill Watterson’s surprise guest stint last month on Pearls Before Swine will be displayed this week at Comic-Con International before they’re sold at auction Aug. 8, with proceeds benefiting The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
The collaboration, which came at the suggestion of the Calvin and Hobbes creator, marked Watterson’s return to the comics page after a 19-year absence. Pastis teased readers that the week’s storyline would “contain a mind-blowing surprise,” but didn’t reveal what it was. Nevertheless, some fans quickly uncovered clues that some of the strips were ghost-drawn by Watterson.
Crime | A successful weekend at Denver Comic Con turned sour for Zac and Mindy Conley, the owners of The Hall of Justice art gallery, after a thief stole a cash box containing their proceeds from the show, about $1,000, and some special orders for Mindy Conley’s artwork, which would have earned the couple another $1,500. The Conleys say they were planning to use the money for rent for their home and studio and the payment for their booth at next year’s Denver Comic Con. “We’ve been fighting to turn this place into some really cool. And every month we’re wondering if we’re going to survive,” Zac said. However, friends are rallying around: Illustrator Drew Litton, who will be showing his work at the gallery next month, will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Conleys, and gifts are also coming in through their Facebook page. [The Denver Post]
Toronto residents may have noticed a host of classic heroes, from Wonder Woman to Astro Boy to the Fantastic Four, are now protecting the city’s streets. At least that’s what many of the neighborhood watch signs insist.
According to CBC News, an artist calling himself Andrew Lamb has “hacked” as many as 70 of the signs, pasting over the familiar houses-with-eyeballs icons with the even more familiar figures from comic books, television and movies (Mr. Rogers, Cliff Huxtable and Dale Cooper, among them).
“I walked by and thought those signs would be much better with a superhero up there,” he told CBC News. “The first one was a splash page — a common thing in comic books, a bunch of superheros popping out at you. Then came Batman and Robin, RoboCop, Beverly Hills Cop, and then it snowballed.”
Lamb acknowledges his project is “technically illegal” — he’s received just two vandalism complaints — but he doesn’t believe it’s “ethically or morally wrong.”
You can see more photos of his handiwork below, and on Lamb’s Instagram account.
An original page of Tintin drawings signed by Hergé sold at auction Saturday in Paris for nearly $2.9 million, setting a new world record for comic art.
Dating to 1937, the double-page spread featuring the boy reporter, Snowy and other characters (above) was created for the inside covers of Tintin books published between 1937 and 1958. According to Agence France-Press, the piece was purchased by an American collector following “15 minutes of furious bidding” at the Artcurial devoted entirely to the Belgian artist and his most famous creation.
Oyster War cartoonist Ben Towle posted an interesting consideration this week about how we discuss comics, and the tendency to rely on film terminology. From scripts to reviews to casual exchanges, we often rely on film language, referring to a panel composition as a “shot” or “camera angle,” for instance, despite the vast majority of comics never employing cameras (fumettis not withstanding). By Towle’s own admission, the post is a collection of disorderly thoughts, but it encourages an examination of how we think and talk about comics, and how we make them.
His “Let’s Stop Using Film Terminology to Talk About Comics” is likely to elicit responses like “I’ll use whatever terminology I want” and “What difference does it make?” That first reaction is of course true: We can all use whatever terminology we like. A blog post isn’t going to change that, and certainly the ubiquity of film won’t prevent its terminology being used in the context of comics from being understood. However, the answer to the second response might cause someone to reconsider that first. As Towle explains early on, how we talk about something affects how we think about it. It’s why politicians are so careful in the terms they use to describe opponents and allies. They’re hoping to establish terminology for a group of people, which in turn influences how we think about them as well. Is someone receiving welfare relief or government hand-outs? Was information obtained from prisoners or detainees, and were torture or extreme-interrogation techniques used? Obviously those are very politically charged examples, but to bring it closer to home, there’s a reason the term “graphic novel” was promoted over “comic book” to bookstores and other mainstream outlets. Words not only have meanings, but also connotations; they can imply judgment, status, and much more. They influence how we perceive the subject of discussion and how we’re likely to think of it in the future. So yes, it does make a difference.
One of the best things about comic conventions is the opportunity to meet the many talented artists on hand, see their original work and even commission pieces from them. Skottie Young is a familiar face in artist’s alleys across the United States, and over the weekend he set up at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, where he turned out amazing original art for some lucky fans.
Young offered custom sketches on colored paper of a character of fans’ choosing. Many took him up on that, and Young has posted some of his favorite on his website. If after seeing these you’re interested in commissioning one of your own (I am!), Young will be attending four more conventions this summer: Motor City in Detroit in May, HeroesCon in Charlotte in June, Boston Comicon in August and Cincy Comicon in September. Keep an eye on his website, as he normally posts details before each convention.
March brings not only strong winds and NCAA brackets, but also March MODOK Madness, the annual celebration of all things MODOK.
For the past several years, the March MODOK Madness blog has celebrated the big-headed villain by enlisting various artists to draw his MODOK-ness in all his glory. Marc has hardly started and already they have three posts up, including a frozen MODOK (why isn’t MODOK on an ice cream bar?), a team-up with Dr. Doofenshmirtz and Mark Monlux’s awesome Easter MODOK (seen below).
Be sure to check in with them all month for more MODOK artwork.
Fred Guardineer’s cover for Action Comics #15 (dated August 1939), on the fifth cover appearance of the Man of Steel, depicts the superhero aiding a distressed U.S. submarine on the ocean floor. It was purchased by Richard Evans of Bedrock City Comic Company in Houston.
“Guardineer’s cover is the earliest Superman cover art in existence, and an absolute treasure of comics history,” Ed Jaster, senior vice president of Heritage Auctions, said in a statement. “A price like this shows just how much collectors covet a rarity like this.”
A prolific Golden Age writer and artist, Guardineer created Zatara, whose first appearance in Action Comics #1 was overshadowed by the debut of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s Superman.
The Feb. 20-22 auction in New York City featured more than 1,200 lots, including the second part of the Don and Maggie Thompson collection. Highlights included: a near-mint copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, which sold for $191,200; Jack Kirby and Frank Giacola’s original cover art for Tales of Suspense #84, which fetched$167,300; and R. Crumb’s original art for the three-page story “Ducks Yas Yas” from Zap Comix #0, which went for $101,575.